With the help of Grandma's homemade ladyfingers recipes, you can make old fashioned ladyfingers that will easily surpass the store-bought variety in taste and wholesome goodness.
Enjoy eating these delicious cookies on their own or use them to make traditional desserts such as English trifles and Charlottes.
Mom's Recipe Scrapbooks (c. 1920s)
Whites of 3 eggs
1/3 cup fruit sugar
Yolks of 2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup flour
Beat whites of eggs until stiff and dry, add sugar gradually, beating all the time. Beat thoroughly, then carefully cut and fold in flour, mixed and sifted with salt.
Cover a baking sheet with non buttered paper, and with a pastry tube shape lady fingers 3 inches long and 3/4 inch wide.
Sprinkle with fruit sugar and bake in a slow oven (325°F) 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from paper and put together in pairs, using white of egg to secure.
The White House Cook Book (1913)
Put nine tablespoonfuls of fine white sugar into a bowl and put the bowl in hot water to heat the sugar; when the sugar is thoroughly heated, break nine eggs into the bowl and beat them quickly until they become a little warm and rather thick; then take the bowl from the water and continue beating until it is nearly or quite cold; now stir in lightly nine tablespoonfuls of sifted flour.
Then with a paper funnel, or something of the kind, lay this mixture out upon papers, in biscuits three inches long and half an inch thick, in the form of fingers; sift sugar over the biscuits and bake them upon tins to a light brown (350°F).
When they are done and cold, remove them from the papers, by wetting them on the back; dry them and they are ready for use. They are often used in making Charlotte Russe desserts.
The Book of Household Management (1861)
Ingredients: 4 eggs, 6 ounces of pounded sugar, the rind of 1 lemon, 6 ounces of flour.
Mode: Break the eggs into a basin, separating the whites from the yolks; beat the yolks well, mix with them the pounded sugar and grated lemon rind, and beat these ingredients together for 1/4 hour.
Then dredge (sprinkle) in the flour gradually, and when the whites of the eggs have been whisked to a solid froth, stir them to the flour, etc; beat the mixture well for another 5 minutes, then draw it along in strips upon thick cartridge paper to the proper size of the biscuit.
Bake them in rather a hot oven (400°F); but let them be carefully watched, as they are soon done, and a few seconds over the proper time will scorch and spoil them.
These biscuits, or ladyfingers, as they are often called, are used for making Charlotte Russe, trifles, and for a variety of fancy sweet dishes.
Ladyfingers, also known by their original Italian name savoiardi, are also called Savoy biscuits, savory biscuits, Naples biscuits, sponge biscuits, and sponge cookies in various places.
The basic homemade ladyfingers recipe has changed little since the 15th century, when these cookies were first made by a chef for the House of Savoy in France.
Boxes of ladyfingers were given as gifts to distinguished visitors, and their popularity quickly spread throughout the royal houses of Europe.
Besides being eaten on their own, the longish oval sponge cakes shaped like fat fingers are popular as a dessert component, especially in English trifles (old fashioned trifle recipes can be found on this website) and Charlottes.
They can be soaked in syrup, liqueur, or coffee, and they are sometimes layered with custard, smothered in whipped cream, or fancily decorated with icing and served with fruit preserves. In other words, ladyfingers are delicious whatever way you serve them.